Over 300 community members came out in support of Shalom Task Force (STF) at its annual brunch on December 11 at the Sephardic Temple. This year, STF honored Jenny Gerber as the Guest of Honor for her incredible dedication as an educational volunteer, advocate and board member of the organization. STF recognized 18Forty and Rabbi Dr. Dovid Bashevkin as Community Changemaker, and their work to surface important conversations in the Jewish community. Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Stacy Pheffer Amato were recognized for their Public Service and lauded for their exceptional commitment to STF and survivors of domestic violence throughout New York State.
In addition, STF’s Young Leadership Boards were honored with the Next Gen Leadership Awards. The Young Leadership Board includes Emily Hamer (HANC), Emma Halpern(YULA Girls), Hannah Amar (Frisch), Molly Seghi (KYHS), Noyah Shebshaievitz (YOFHS), Raffi Weil (MTA), Roey Novick (Kushner), Sabrina Graff (SKA), Sarit Katz (Central), Shanna Miller (DAT), Shira Cohen (NSHAHS), Tamar Weiss (Central), Abby Liska (Fuchs Mizrachi), Abigail Fishman (DAT), Andrew Berger (HAFTR), Emma Greenwald (SAR), Frieda Catton (YOFHS), Holden Applebaum (NSHAHS), Jamie Berger (KYHS), Moshe Jacobson (DRS), Olivia Ansel (Kushner), Phoebe Rynhold (Frisch), Rafaela Torossian (Heschel), and Zoe Mendelsohn (Yula Girls), students from high schools across the country.
The theme of the brunch was “Inspiring Supportive Community”, and the focus was on how everyone can take actions to help create a community that supports survivors and fosters healthy relationships. Dr. Shoshannah Frydman, Executive Director shared that “We need to find ways of destigmatizing conversations about hard topics- including abuse and relationships. We need to normalize accessing help and learning skills about how to build healthy relationships.... these are ways to break the stigma and show that we care.”
Dr. Frydman thanked the overflow crowd and emphasized that by “showing up” in support of Shalom Task Force it is also a concrete step and a statement of care and a message to survivors that they are not alone, and that the community stands together with them.
Rabbi Bashevkin, in his poignant keynote address, shared that in his work, he is approached by many that are suffering and are alone and often do not know where to turn. He shared the need to find ways of offering healing and help to those suffering in the most inner sanctum, the family and in marriage. He asserted that the litmus test of religious life is how we treat our families- and that we need to support the work of helping those suffering and help build healthy and safe relationships.
Shalom Task Force’s has been serving the Jewish community since 1993 with the mission to combat domestic violence and foster healthy and safe relationships with a focus within the Jewish community. Its services include a hotline/chatline that supports victims, free legal services, educational workshops and outreach programs.